The Magic of Martin Debuts in Valencia

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The doorbell rang at 10:00 this morning waking us from a sound sleep.  It was Antonio, the building’s doorman, telling us that the headboard that Susan had ordered last week was downstairs and that the driver from the express company was heading upstairs.  I quickly threw on my bathrobe and greeted him at the door.  He told me that the headboard was too big to fit in the elevator and that he had left it downstairs with Antonio.  I signed the receipt and off he went.

Two minutes later Antonio calls and tells us to come downstairs so that we can take the headboard out its carton to see what the challenge really was.  Once the cardboard carton was cut away the headboard fit into the elevator with no problem whatsoever.  Antonio carried it into the bedroom for us and gave us some suggestions for how to set it up.  We could either attach it to the wall or to the bed frame.  I think the bedframe idea won out and when I went to the hardware store to buy the appropriate nuts and bolts, Antonio came along and helped me select the proper materials.  Later in the day Antonio told us that a friend of his, who is a handyman, will come by the house on Friday and set up the bedframe.  That certainly was welcome news.

I spent the better part of the morning getting things ready for this afternoon’s magic show.  I went through my checklist to make sure that I had all the necessary elements to perform the show that Sofi and I had planned.  I then packed everything up.  My act fits into one of those large plastic tubs with room to spare.  What takes up the most space are the tables that are needed in order to set up the elements of the act so that there is a smooth transition from effect to effect and no searching necessary.  For that purpose I have a suitcase table, a plexiglass table and an aluminum box table.  The latter two have tripods and that makes it very easy to adjust their height.  When everything was in order, I took a shower and got dressed.

Our upstairs neighbor, Pepe, has a son who is a student at Gran Asociación a colegio that was founded in 1853 and whose students range in age from 3 to 19 when they go on to university.  The school provides its students with a bilingual education and students graduate with a near native fluency in English.  José is a student in the Kindergarten and the show was designed for his class.

Pepe came by at 2:30 and we loaded everything into his SUV.  His wife, Raquel, joined us and so Susan, Raquel, Pepe and I threaded our way through the narrow streets of the older part of town.  As we were offloading Sofi came by and was dismayed to discover that parking was darn near impossible in that part of town.  The good news is that she did find a space and was back in time to set her things up.  When I walked into our performance space I was greeted by the sight of 100 chairs.  I was then informed that the guest list had expanded and that instead of 20 kids, there would be over 100 and the 3 year olds who were not supposed to attend would be there in the front rows.

Needless to say the magic that one does for three-year olds is quite different that what one does for five and six-year olds.  However, at that point in tine, given the situation, you just go a head with plan A and wing it, when necessary. We decided to do away with the chairs and have the kids sit on the floor.  At 3:45 we opened the doors and the children came flooding in.

Our show lasted a full forty-five minutes.  True to form, the three year olds got the “squirmies” after about fifteen minutes.  We ended up cutting several effects from our planned program and moving directly to our planned ending.  Most of the effects played well and the butterfly ending is both a pretty and a powerful piece of magic.  Sofi and I complemented each other well and we need to do some more work to smooth out some of the rough spots.  She is a definite asset to the show in terms of beauty, brains, energy and stage presence.

It took a good half an hour to break down the show and get things ready to pack up in the car.  We were back home by 5:30 and both Pepe and Antonio helped me offload.  Susan, as usual, did her fantastic job as photographer and all the photos that follow are hers.

I imagine that it will take a few more shows to answer the question of whether working for Spanish children is different than working for American children.  The fact that there were three–year olds in the mix makes it a difficult question to answer.  Only time will tell.

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